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EEPA National Winners 2017 – Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

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Have we met all of the projects competing for a place on the EEPA 2017 European shortlist? Almost! Today Promoting Enterprise presents the final category of national winners, Category 6: Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship. This category recognises initiatives that promote corporate social responsibility among small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, legal migrants, disabled, or people from ethnic minorities.

In 2016 the prize was won by The Rotterdam Business Case from the Netherlands, for their project that strives to help innovative individuals and entrepreneurs who have failed with a venture or are in financial difficulties.

10 projects will be considered for a European title in this category. Well done to all the national winners and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

Bulgaria: Listen Up Online Platform for Equal Access

France: Adie Microfranchise Solidaire (AMS)

France: Start’Up Lycée

Iceland: Social and green impact of an electronic drug administration system in an Icelandic nursing home for the elderly

Malta: Setting up our Social Enterprise

Netherlands: IMC Weekendschool

Poland: Karlino na drodze rozwoju

Portugal: MUNDAR: Change your world – young entrepreneurship contest

Romania: ARAD WELDING SCHOOL

Slovakia: DATAROOM

Sweden: STAR (Social Innovation och Tillväxt för Alla i Regionen)

EEPA National Winners 2017 – Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit

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As the jury decision for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) shortlist draws closer it is time for us to meet all of the outstanding projects from across Europe that are competing on European level! Promoting Enterprise will be presenting all of the national winners that are being considered for the European shortlist as well as the categories that they are competing.

This week is the turn of Category 1: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit, which recognises initiatives that promote an entrepreneurial mindset, especially among young people and women. In 2016 the prize was won by the entrepreneurship stronghold Lyon Ville de l’Entrepreneuriat from France.

This year there are 18 projects competing in this category and competition is fierce! Good luck to all the projects and we look forward to finding out who is on the EEPA 2017 shortlist!

Croatia: BUDI UZOR®/BE THE ROLE MODEL™

Cyprus: The Future in our hands:  Creating European entrepreneurs

Czech Republic: Jaudelam.cz

Denmark:
Fonden for Entreprenørskab som national, ansvarlig aktør for implementering af entreprenørskab i uddannelserne.

Estonia: Enterprise Village

Finland: Pikkuyrittäjät – Mini company program for primary school

France: Start’Up Lycée

Germany: BIRTH – Business Innovation Responsibility and Technology @Hansenberg

Greece: PATRAS Innovation Quest (Patras IQ)

Hungary: Startup Campus Program

Italy: 3D 4-Uman Technology is not uniquely human

Latvia: Information campaign “Support for entrepreneurs

Lithuania: KTU Startup Space

Romania: Doing innovative business based on advanced research and public communication

Serbia: Caravan of Youth Entrepreneurship

Slovakia: I will do it.sk

Turkey: Supporting Entrepreneurship, Skills and Future of Children and Youth Programme

United Kingdom: Made in North Tyneside

Human Security Finland – Humanitarian issues take EEPA 2016 stage

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Human Security Finland, Category 4 winner of EEPA (European Enterprise Promotion Awards) 2016 entered with a project that tackles a key issue high on the global agenda, human suffering. Through international partnerships and high profile events such as The United Nations World Humanitarian Summit, this EEPA winner is making an impact, and using its expertise to identify needs and trends in developing countries.

How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?

We first heard about the competition on the the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment website. Entering the competition was a chance to make our work known, something we really wanted to do because we believe that our work and project are interesting for Europe.

How did you go about preparing your application?

Part of the preparation of our application involved participating in The United Nations World Humanitarian Summit, which took place in Istanbul in May 2016. We attended as one of the 9,000 participants from around the world to tackle the ever growing issue of human suffering and to support the new shared Agenda for Humanity.

What was it like to win the award and how did winning immediately impact your work?

Of course we hoped to win but it was still a surprise! The award helped us to gain media visibility and also led to us gaining new partners. In the long term winning has increased the acceptance of our work as now people can easily identify us, and has also made it significantly easier to expand our existing network.

Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

Participating in EEPA makes it easier to share your work with new audiences. The diverse audience of EEPA makes it the perfect opportunity for exposure and really gives you an opportunity to connect with people through your work and that of the other European projects competing.

What are your plans for the future?

EEPA has given us some perspective and we now have an idea about when we want to expand our network in .

Read more about Human Security Finland and follow them on Facebook for their latest updates!

Positive discrimination for national SMEs – Portuguese EEPA winner supports national enterprise

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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can be sources of employment and innovation in a national economy, yet conditions are not always favourable when these enterprises compete against larger competitors. The winner of Category 3 (Improving the Business Environment) at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) 2016, strives to create these conditions and an SME supportive environment. The Leader SME programme is a mechanism to qualify enterprises that aims to highlight the merits of the most successful  national SMEs by creating conditions to strengthen their market reputation and fast-track access  to funding. The goal is to promote growth strategies and consolidate their competitiveness.

How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?

We first heard about the competition through several public and private entities that promote and encourage participation in the competition throughout Portugal, and applied using our public/private partnership. We felt that our project was a good and strong example of what EEPA represents. Our results from previous years were also very successful, so we thought that our project had good replication potential and could serve as a European example.

How did you go about preparing your application?

The preparation of an EEPA application is quite “heavy” in terms of the work involved. We did not prepare something special for EEPA, but instead created a working group for the preparation of the application as soon as the period of application was announced.

What was it like to win the award?

It was a surprise, considering the quality of other applications. However, we felt that we had a very good chance in this competition, since we were strongly convinced of the quality of our application. Just being included in the shortlist gave as a sense of achievement! Winning the competition was very important to us, and it was an extraordinary feeling: a reward for the work done, and concrete proof that we are on the right track.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work and what kind of response did you receive?

Winning the award helped us not only externally, the increased visibility helped with publicity and will also help us in the future, but also internally. Internally the win helped to solidify our relationships with partners and make us a stronger network. It also resulted in overall better general knowledge of the objectives and better understanding of the technicalities of the project. The response was great and made us feel like we have an increased sense of responsibility, now we just have to maintain and increase the impact of the project. Whilst it was fantastic to represent our project, it was also very satisfying to be able to represent Portugal.

Can you already see a long-term impact or do you have any expectations?

Yes. Considering the results of the initiative, and the relevance of the award, we think that the partners will be able to approach companies more easily in order to tighten the network links and increase the impact of the SME Leader initiative.

Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

It is important to evaluate whether a project has the following: quality, results, strong partnership, and replicability. Our advice would be that if your project has all of the above, then you should definitely compete! The preparation for EEPA stimulates evaluation, strengthens partnership, and gives visibility, all of which can only help strengthen your project.

What are your plans for the future?

Our project has the potential to increase the level and scope of impact on the companies, through a tightening of the network. We hope to raise awareness and increase knowledge about the companies considered to be SME Leaders, and disseminate their best practices to help others achieve the same leader status. Our whole project is about helping SMEs get access to finance, whether it be through creating the right conditions or helping them comply with requisites, in terms of the future we want to keep doing just that and increase the number of enterprises that we help and who can benefit.

‘Being successful is having a good enterprise and being a good entrepreneur’ – The Rotterdam Business Case

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Entrepreneurs are ambitious, daring and think outside of the box to help advance and innovate our daily lives. Yet who helps them when they are in difficulty? Who gives them a second chance or the advice they need to be successful? The Category 6 (Responsible and Inclusive entrepreneurship) winner of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA), is a project that does just that. Today’s interview with Rob Gringhuis, one of the project partners, gives insight into this cutting edge project that is helping innovative individuals through challenging times.

How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?

We first heard about EEPA when one partner got an email from the university of applied sciences in Rotterdam who had seen the EEPA announcement from our national economic ministry. Once we started looking into it we thought that we had a lot to offer with our project and were enthusiastic about showing people what we are doing. We had already been asked by the ministry of social affairs to present our project to other cities and regions in the Netherlands, so we saw this as a chance to take that to a European level. Our project is on the cutting edge of economic and social problems by providing entrepreneurial support, as entrepreneurs often become dependent on welfare and can cause societal difficulties. We were also curious about where our project stood on a national level and how we compared to other initiatives across the Netherlands.

How did you go about preparing your application?

Our national coordinator was very helpful and shared important advice with us during the application stage. We actually entered in 2015 but were unsuccessful, so 2016 gave us a chance to improve our original application and demonstrate the progress we had made in one year. Our 2016 application included more results which had since been expanded outside of Rotterdam and across the Netherlands.

What was it like to win the award and what kind of response did you receive?

Winning the award was fantastic! When we first saw our competitors in our category there was a familiar project there, the Swedish nominee Entrepreneurial West Hisingen. We already knew about each other because we lost to them in a previous eurocities competition, so we knew that they were an appealing and tough project to beat.

During the awards ceremony, we realised that there were only three projects announced in our category and that the Swedish project was no longer there, which made us feel a little more hopeful about winning. We were confident that we had shown the Jury the effect our project had on entrepreneurs, and also its potential for scaling up on a national level. When we were announced as the winners it was a big acknowledgment of our hard work and made us think about our project on a European level.

Before EEPA we were already developing our international expansion, but winning EEPA has certainly helped accelerate that process. We were congratulated by the EEPA team and also by previous Dutch winners from 2015, who we met not that long ago.

How did winning the award immediately impact your work?

We have had the Rotterdam business case since 2013, and have since started a foundation to help other cities. We are also in conversation with other regions to see if we can help them to do the same. All of this was already under way before the EEPA win but we now have an ‘approval stamp’ on our project which has helped us accelerate our processes, made it easier for others start their own business cases and also helped our partners put proposals forward faster. The win has been a tremendous push forward and as well as boosting enthusiasm also resulted in a lot of congratulations from our peers.

Ultimately this could also attract the interest of other cities and help us with our international vision. We are already in talks with Finland and may be looking at expanding to Bulgaria, so hopefully the EEPA quality stamp will help these developments.

Can you already see a long-term impact or do you have any expectations?

This is now a strategic question for us, how do we go forward from here? We have been asked to go to seminars and tell our story, and the foundation that we started is helping other cities and helping with scaling up of existing cases. In the long term we would like to push the project forward on a European platform, maybe in 1-2 years time we will be able to have European level business cases, but this is ambitious and would require European partners. As our foundation board is entirely made up of volunteers the problem is not enthusiasm or ambition, it is time and money, but hopefully through our research programme which interviews entrepreneurs over the years to analyse the effectiveness of the project methods, we will continue to improve and grow.

Why should others enter EEPA 2017? What advice would you give them?

Entering the national competition forces you to step outside of your project and learn how to: market it, develop a pitch and most of all make it interesting and inspirational for others. Inspiration is a very important part of EEPA work, it is what makes a project stand out. Aside from that, you should enter because it is fun! The whole process requires a lot of work and you need to invest the necessary time, but once that part is done you can really enjoy the experience of being in the competition.

What are your plans for the future?

Our vision is a global one, meaning that we want to expand on an international scale. The project is here to assist entrepreneurs that are almost failing and so far around 50% of those who have been helped have recovered and become successful. Being successful is having a good enterprise and being a good entrepreneur, and currently there is a very large group of hard working entrepreneurs in Europe that just need help, which is why we want to expand the project, so that we can provide that necessary support. The goal is to make success a possibility for as many entrepreneurs as possible. The current target in the Netherlands is to assist 1 000 entrepreneurs a year, now we want to turn that into helping 10 000 entrepreneurs across Europe every year.

SME Assembly 2016 – Refresh your memory with presentations

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2017-02-07

As we prepare for SME Assembly 2017 in Tallinn, let us not forget about the success of the SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava! The presentation from the SME Assembly 2016 is now available for you to look at here.

Want to have a look at some of the presentations from the SME Assembly 2016? Browse the list below to refresh your memory:

Day 2 – Thursday November 24

Day 3 – Friday November 25

10 Years On

Ladislav Ambrovics (MINIT Slovakia)

Kenneth Ryan

Scale Up Lab

Pieter Waasdorp (NLGroeit)

Policy Session Skills for SMEs

Rosanna Kurrer (Digital Leadership Institute)

Alberto Onetti (Mind the Bridge, SEP)

Masterclass – Crowdfunding: Yannig Roth (Marketing Director, WiSEED)

Policy Session – Single Market Lab

Stefan Vratny (EEN)

Policy Session – Creating a Collaborative Economy

Marco Torregrossa: Rethinking Work in the Collaborative Economy (Secretary General, European Forum of Independent Professionals Managing Director, European Sharing Economy Coalition)

Julia Rzepecka (VVA – Europe)

Policy Session – Accessing Alternative Finance

Pim de Bokx (Founder PIONEERZ Chairman DIA – Dutch Incubators & Accelerators)

Kristof de Buysere (Eucaps)

Philippe Gluntz (Business Angels Europe)

Policy Session – The Growth of Social Enterprise

Roger Spear (OU&RUC)

Nils Dreyer (Hilfswerft GmbH)

Joseba Sagastigordia (Mondragon corp.)

Ariane Rodert (EESC)

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

This year the SME Assembly 2017 will take place in Tallinn, Estonia! Keep up with all the latest information, preparations and exciting announcements right here on Promoting Enterprise and we hope to see you in Tallinn…

SME Assembly 2016 – The delegate verdict is here!

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Welcome back to the Promoting Enterprise blog! Are you ready for 2017? We have decided to kick off the year with a look at what you all thought of the SME Assembly 2016.

The response rate was 48%, with the most responses coming from Belgium, Slovakia, Netherlands and Greece. Of all the respondents, 98% believed the SME Assembly 2016 was worth attending, of which 47.44% said definitely. What does this mean for SME Assembly 2017? 92% of respondents indicated that they would definitely or were likely to attend, so we hope to see you in Tallinn!

sme-assembly sme-assembly-2017

We were happy to see that the event was perceived to be successful in  “creating the environment when people are ready and willing for the real networking”, and “very well organised”. Other comments are also being used to improve our performance and your experience at the SME Assembly 2017.

Moving on to the business tours, which firstly took participants to see Slovakia’s flying car, an automotive innovation that makes use of existing aviation and automobile infrastructure to offer a future with the possibility of real door-to-door travel. The second tour featured an innovative Slovakian SME GA drilling, is working towards revolutionising current drilling technology to allow for cheaper and more efficient drilling, with the idea of providing affordable and sustainable geothermal power to all. It seems these tours were a hit with 97% of the tour attendees finding them extremely/relevant and useful.

31203527695_47a6e51219_kga-drill

Overall, SME Assembly 2016 attendees appeared very satisfied with the rest of the 3 day conference events, including; the SME Week Reception (94% found it extremely relevant and useful) and the EEPA ceremony (87% said it fully met or exceeded their expectations), although participants would have appreciated more networking time.

slovak-dancers peter-v gjp

We also asked our delegates what they thought of the graphic recording of the SME Assembly, a real time depiction, which summarised the event with visuals, created by entrepreneur Sabine Soeder and fellow artist Martin Saive. 82% of delegates found this useful. The event app was also greatly appreciated with 92% of delegates believing it to be relevant and useful. The app can always be improved and with your suggestions regarding programme alerts, information about other attendees, networking facilitation and more.

catering musicians dinner

Thank you to everyone who provided us with feedback and took time to fill in the survey. The preparations for SME Assembly 2017 are already underway…so stay tuned and see you in Tallinn this November!

SME Week Newsletter: Issue #8

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The SME Assembly is over, but the conversation continues

This month the focus is on the SME Assembly 2016, which took place from 23-25 November in Bratislava, Slovakia. With over 600 delegates and speakers from all over Europe and beyond, this year’s assembly was a great success and brought together a diverse audience committed to building an SME friendly Europe and sharing views on entrepreneurship, scale ups and startups.

The assembly played host to policy sessions, interactive open spaces, high-level roundtables, lectures, masterclasses and much more. The event also saw the crowning of this year’s prize-winning projects at the EEPA ceremony and gala dinner which took place on 24 November. Read the EEPA news section for more.

During the assembly we brought you live coverage from the event on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! Daily roundup posts from the three days (1, 2 and 3) are also available for you to read on Promoting Enterprise.

assembly-round-up-days

Now that SME Assembly 2016 in Bratislava has come to an end, we can begin to look forward to the SME Assembly 2017 which will take us to Tallinn in Estonia. The preparations are already under way, we hope to see you there! Read more >>

<< Previous Issue #7

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Where are they now? Catching up with past EEPA winners

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2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). In this new feature, we catch up with former EEPA honourees who’ve gone on to do great things since winning the award.

This week, Klaudia Valuskova (pictured) from the award-winning AV Mobilita project reflects on the impact of winning an EEPA two years on...

Name Klaudia Valuskova
Organisation AV Mobilita
Country Slovakia
Website www.avmobilita.sk
Award won Responsible, Social and Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Year 2014

klaudia-valuskovaWhat was it like to win the award?

It was a complete surprise and satisfaction at the same time.

Tell us about your project?

AV Mobilita is a sheltered workshop specialising in integrating disabled people into all areas of life. It focuses on car repairs and it now coordinates other workshops forming part of the Škoda Handy Disabled Persons Project. The scheme has facilitated the smooth integration of disabled people into society through mediation of special-priced vehicle sales and through comprehensive theoretical and practical training of applicants seeking a licence to drive a car. In 2009, the workshop received an award from the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic for the integration of disabled persons into the workplace.

What response did you receive from your colleagues and peers to receiving an EEPA?

We received a positive response.

What has been the long-term impact?

The award laid the foundation for other projects in this particular area.

Why did you decide to enter the national competition?

The main reason was to draw the public’s attention to our area of work and encourage those we work with, those with disabilities, to partake of our service. For me, the great achievement was winning the national award. The international success wasn’t even hoped for.

What advice would you give to others thinking of entering?

All good ideas should be shared and adapted by others and the award is great way to achieve this.

To find out more about AV Mobilita, visit www.avmobilita.sk.

 

European SME Week events across the EU

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This year’s successful European SME Week saw participating countries around the continent hold a range of exciting events and initiatives in order to promote SMEs and entrepreneurship across Europe. We’ve rounded up some interesting examples below.

Slovakia

In Slovakia, European SME Week focused on promotion of business micro loans and more diverse events. This was coordinated by the Slovak Enterprise Europe Network, which has been supporting Slovak SMEs for more than 20 years.

Business support organisations from across Slovakia worked on a range of activities to boost entrepreneurship and motivate the general public to start their own enterprises. For example, the Europe4Business conference focused on ensuring people are aware of the EU support they are entitled to from 2014-2020. In October the Slovak Business Agency began to promote the value of innovation in businesses, as well as the opportunities for family businesses.

Similarly, as part of the Slovak Business Agency’s drive to offer more favourable micro loans to Slovakia-based SMEs, small businesses can ask for financial support of up to €50.000. The deadline for this is 31 October 2014.

Malta

SME Week in Malta was organised by the Ministry for Economy between 17-28 October.

One of the central national events, the Youth Entrepreneurship Conference, was aimed at students in tertiary education to encourage them to consider entrepreneurship as a career and allow them to meet and network with Maltese entrepreneurs.

Another central event was the ‘EU Access to Finance Day,’ hosted by the European Commission in the capital, Valetta on 24 October. In this session businesses and representatives from government received information on the EU financial instruments, and assessed the situation of access to finance in Malta. This was followed by a new pilot project ‘Business Clinics,’ where businesses were able to receive an on-the-spot diagnosis for problems they are facing.

Other events included a Crafts Conference which addressed challenges in this niche market. Two interesting seminars on business transfers and crowdfunding were hosted by Maltese business organisations, with another two organisations.

Malta introduced two new concepts during its SME Week. First, a Pitching Event took place, where eight teams of potential start-ups sold their ideas to investors. Secondly, a Start-Up Village was set up on the island of Gozo, where youth (and those young at heart) were able to browse through various business support services for advice and listen to established entrepreneurs during forums on various subjects related to starting up. The week ended with the annual Female Business Cafe, which gave the opportunity for women entrepreneurs and those interested in starting a business to network, sought advice from various business support services and attended training sessions.

More information on all of these events can be found here.

Austria

European SME Week in Austria was co-ordinated by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and the Institute for Economic Promotion (WIFI) of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. There are a number of initiatives that these organisations have launched to help SMEs and promote entrepreneurship.

For instance, by the end of 2014 more than 150 SME focused events will have been held in Austria under the umbrella of the European SME Week. The main event of the European SME Week 2014 in Austria took place in Salzburg on 2 October. The event, ‘Austrian Business Opening: New impetus for our economy,’ saw around 400 experts from business, academia and politics come together.

The ‘Experteninfo kompakt’ series is an online knowledge-sharing platform. Through webinars, PowerPoint presentations and interviews with leading entrepreneurs, small businesses asked questions and learned more about starting up a business. The first in the series focused on innovation, content marketing, and working with employees.

Finally, the free ‘Hotspot SME 2014’ booklet was designed for European SME Week by the WIFI SME Support Centre. It shows the latest facts and figures on the performance of SMEs and also features their expectations for the future. The ‘Hotspot’ also includes information about the special services available for SMEs in Austria and for the first time ever, features data about the life cycle of specific companies. You can download the brochure here, or order a printed version here.

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